This summer volunteers (including Lou Ann) have been opening the base of the Ocracoke Lighthouse two hours every day (1 pm - 3 pm) to allow visitors a glimpse into the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina. Although the public is not allowed to climb to the top (mainly for safety and maintenance reasons -- the structure was designed to accommodate a single lighthouse keeper, not the general public; and many structural members are rusty and deteriorating) visitors can peer up to the top, take photos, and learn some of the beacon's history from the volunteers.
Beginning sometime early next month the lighthouse will be closed for much needed interior maintenance. The metalwork on the spiral steps will be restored, the walls and cast iron supports will be painted, and new lightning protection will be installed. As part of the restoration work the light in the 4th order Fresnel lens will be extinguished sometime soon, and the lighthouse will remain dark for about two months. The light is still considered an aid to navigation, and the US Coast Guard, which maintains the beacon, has issued a notice to mariners.
So, if the light in the lighthouse is not operating when you visit the island, please understand that the situation is only temporary, and our beloved lighthouse will be fully functioning again, and in better repair, soon.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the second half of my father's short journal. I call it Remembering Growing up on Ocracoke. You can read it here.